This large format information picture book, with spreads reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s busy pages, invites young children to join the Palabra family as they go about their day. The first spread, a cross section of their home, introduces all the members of the family including a mischievous crocodile and cat who appear on every page; Oscar, two and a half, loved spotting these however tiny the pictures! The day continues with visits to the family workshop, the garden, the street, park and library. The labelled illustrations encourage an interest in words: there are over 700 items including food, things in the home, park and library and newer vocabulary for the digital age. Changing foodstuffs, clothes and buildings reflect our more diverse society. Praiseworthy, too, is the picturing of adults and children who have disabilities but are not defined by these. So, for example, a little boy reads a Braille book in the library and an artist is a wheelchair user. I like the interactive approach: children are asked what they would like to be when they grow up, on the pages showing different occupations and, on a splendid spread showing a range of storybook characters – wizards, mermaids and aliens – they’re asked which ones they would most like to meet. So there is appeal to the imagination as well as encouragement to apply observation skills.
Evidence of a screen based digital age is complemented by pictures of more traditional items and activities than playing on ipads and smart phones. When the family relax at the end of the day, the spread shows them doing jigsaws, enjoying a board game and reading books. A good balance, I think. This book has great appeal for preschool children, but also deserves a place in the early years classroom where it may be particularly welcomed by young readers learning English as a second language.